Govt looks into PMB office park

2013-12-18 00:00

A FEASIBILITY study into the province’s planned multi-million-rand office development in Pietermaritzburg for the KwaZulu-Natal government has recommended three funding options.

The building, when constructed, will change the face of the capital city and will include a government office park that will house all the headquarters of the provincial departments.

These departments are currently housed at state-owned and rented properties, with the latter proving too costly to the public purse.

The Provincial Treasury commissioned the Amafa Consortium led by PriceWaterhouseCoopers to assist in determining the most cost-effective way of securing accommodation.

The feasibility study, which cost R9 million, has suggested these three options:

• Invite private developers to tender for the design, build and financing of the office park and lease the building to the provincial administration;

• KZN government designs, builds and finances the office park using conventional procurement methods;

• KZN enters into a public private partnership with a private party to design, build and, finance, operate and maintain the office park over a period of 20 years after which the building is handed back to the government.

Treasury spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa said the study found that there was limited supply of suitable buildings in the Pietermaritzburg CBD.

“Government has largely been unable to procure sufficient leased accommodation of a suitable standard.

“The rental market is not a long-term solution to government’s accommodation needs and is not cost-effective,” Maphisa said.

He also said in addition to the shortage of office accommodation, the study found that there was a shortage of parking in the CBD that needed to be addressed.

“At present, government accommodation is spread throughout Pietermaritzburg in government-owned and rented properties.”

He said bringing all the departments together in one building was the best option. “At present no decision has been taken by the cabinet,” Maphisa said.

The latest study comes after two similar projects were undertaken by Treasury for the provincial administration and a parliamentary precinct for the KZN legislature a few years ago.

Both were abandoned on the grounds of lack of finance in the KZN government amid the economic recession.

Provincial Treasury head Simiso Magagula previously told The Witness that the new study was to revive and take up from where the shelved studies had left off.

The parliamentary precinct, which was to be constructed on land near the Townhill Hospital, was expected to have cost the legislature R800 million when completed through public-private partnership.

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